48 Hours in Liège: Where to Eat/Drink/Shop and So Much More
We often look with envy at our neighbors, thinking the grass might be greener there, missing the beauty of the land we are living in. Yes, Liège is a small city. And yes, it is hardly comparable to some international capital cities, but do you know that we used to have a cathedral bigger than Notre-Dame de Paris? Or that Liège once hosted the World Fair? Yeah, we didn’t know it either not that long ago.
Of course, you could say these are just memories of a brighter past long gone, but it would only be a half-truth. Liège is so much more than the grey and declining industrial city it has been in the collective imagination in recent years. From coal to cool, the city is moving fast. It is a raw diamond. All you have to do is to cut it as you wish. Like us, you tend only to only believe what you see? We hope this guide is a convincing testimony.
Just follow us!
– 15 minutes away from the city center, Les Vergers de la Citadelle B&B (102 rue du Limbourg) offers a 2 to 4 persons studio with a kitchen and a breath-taking view of the city from a high perspective. From 80 euros for a 2 person room, you will enjoy the comfort of a warm house abroad. Marco, the owner, is an enthusiastic host who speaks FR-EN-NL-SP and can arrange for breakfast. According to the rumor, he has some rare and famous Westvleteren beers in his basement… maybe you should ask him about it?
Since the city as a reputation for Hedonism, good places are numerous. For a no fuss evening and a a casual restaurant, here are our good spots:
– Café Lequet – Chez Stockis (Quai sur Meuse 17): Although the service at Lequet may be somewhat rude, the yellow-brown atmosphere created by succeeding generations of smokers over the years is both typical and comforting. Especially since smoking inside is now (thankfully) forbidden. No doubt you will feel at home here. Do not pay attention to customers who go directly in the kitchen to help themselves, it is normal if you are a regular. Café Lequet is also the perfect place to hear some local accent and try the city’s most popular dish: meatballs with brown sauce made of regional syrup and beer.
– Le Soleil du Vietnam (Rue Puits-en-Sock 59): Without a doubt our favorite Asian restaurant in town. Except for its neon bowl of Pho on the vitrine, the Soleil du Vietnam does not look like much from the outside. However, the service is warm, the food is delicious and the price is fair… Three reasons that make the place a must. The Pho is especially good, so go for it. If you’re starving, the formula of « all-you-can-eat-à-la-carte » is an excellent choice. Nothing to compare with the usual and unappealing asian buffet since any dish you fancy will be served right at the table.
– La Charbonnade (Rue Roture 5): In this meatlover’s temple, the real Chef is you since you cook your own meat on your own table brazier. A perfect ice-breaker that will definitely warm you up! The meat is good, and so are the side dishes included in the price – do not miss the gratin dauphinois! Dishes are affordable, but run away from La Charbonnade during heatwave periods… and ask yourself some questions if you don’t.
– The Huggy’s Bar (Passage Lemonier 22): They claim to have the best burgers in town. They definitely served the best beers in the world. Two reasons explaining the fast growing success of this chain of restaurants that started in Liège. Among the various options offered here, there is always a beer-ger pairing recommended. We call it the Belgian Dream. Don’t make a rookie mistake and make sure to book a table at the Passage Lemonier restaurant: it is the most beautiful one.
If you find it, take a look at cour Saint Antoine and then head back to the impressive stairs of Bueren. On your way, do not miss the narrow streets that come out on Hors-Château Street. Do not be shy, have a look, they definitely worth it. Try at least the « Impasse de l’Ange« , it is definitely the best one.
Once arrived in front of Bueren’s 374 stairs, you might think twice about reaching the top – don’t worry, we won’t judge you if you don’t. Just take a moment to think about the dudes who live there… they better enjoy the taste of tap water! At the end of the street leading to the stairs, turn left towards the Brasserie C for a nice example of Mosan architecture and a delicious beer from the brewery there.
From there, ascend the « few » stairs leading to the « Terrasses des Minimes« , a secret park with an outstanding view on the city.
Not enough? If you feel like keeping on, just check out this city map with the best walks around, but be prepared to climb. C2, on the brown path, is definitely the best spot!
After such an effort, you’re feeling a bit shaky and light headed? Listen to your body, it’s snack o’clock. Our suggestions for a light meal on the go:
– Get Your Mug (17, rue des Carmes): Whether for a late lunch or an early snack (sweet or salty) there is always a fresh bagel or a delicious muffin waiting for you at Get Your Mug. One coffee on the go, and here you go, ready to continue your trip across the city.
If Liège is better known for its pubs open all-night long than for its fancy shops, there are still plenty of nice addresses to discover and, honestly, the probability that you end the day empty handed is very low. Come on, there is nothing like shopping to help you digest your lunch.
– Le Coloris (32, rue du Pot d’Or): Located in the heart of Le Carré, Le Coloris jewel store is a precious address where you can find an affordable selection of eclectic and oniric jewels. In Liège, receiving a small box from Le Coloris with the distinguishable red ribbon is the equivalent of receiving a turquoise box from Tiffany in New-York. Squeals of happiness guaranteed!
– Sapiens Sapiens (114, rue du pont): In this modern hardware shop, you will find a unique selection of daily high quality goods and products that made their proof again and again over the years. From kitchen knives to canteens and soaps, there is everything you need there.
– Watch Smell Taste and Having Fun (114, rue du pont): Single Malt whiskies, rare rhums, mezcals and many more… whatever the bottle you find here, if it stands on the shelves, it has a story to tell. Forget everything you know about booze. You won’t find it any of the regular bottles here. add to that friendly service and music, and the nice-looking shop itself is worth the visit.
– Wattitude (7, rue Souverain Pont): Designer furniture, food or clothing: everything you can find at Wattitude comes out of Wallonia. The perfect place to find a gift or an original souvenir from Liège to bring back home!
– Livres aux Trésors (13, rue des Carmes): This is one of my favorite in town. I could spend hours here, meandering between the shelves in a neverending quest for precious books and new novels to read. Upstairs, colorful children books and vinyl discs are a feast for the eye. Moreover, there are often exhibitions organized here – it’s culture in a nutshell and I love it! – Kath
No doubt, being a shopaholic gives anyone the munchies. Fancying a little snack? Alright, alright. After all, isn’t Liège the homeland of the World famous Liège Waffles? (not to be confused with the cartoon flavored Brussels waffle).
– Chez Pollux (2, place de la Cathédrale): Strategically located Cathédrale Square, it is hard to miss it, and even harder to resist the tempting smell released by Pollux… Ask for a hot one.
Once you got care of your glucose level, there is nothing like lying in one of the numerous parcs of the city. Our favorite places for a green break?
(If you feel too tired to read at this point, just watch our video here !)
– The Citadel hillsides (many accesses, such as 38 rue Pierreuse): Do you have to climb to get there? Yes, definitely. Is it 100% worth it? Yes, definitely. Enjoy the sun, the silence and one of the best views of the city from this well preserved secret garden. Beware, entrances are just narrow staircases, so do not miss them.
– Cointe Park (Gustave Kleyer Boulevard, Cointe): I love to go there for a run, sit for a while and enjoy the breathtaking view on Liège. You feel like being in the city, without the disadvantages of it. It’s awesome! – Marielle
So many adventures. Start to feel tired? It’s normal, you deserve a break. Go back to your hotel and rest. It will be the evening soon, and since it is Saturday, the night is young. Have a nap, a shower and dress up, we’re going out!
… or are you a warrior who would still like to do some exercice? Well, ok then. Lace up your trainers and follow us!
From the Market square, pass by the Town hall and turn left to rue des Minimes (1), then right to rue Hors-Château. Enjoy the architecture there and get prepared to… climb the 374 stairs of Bueren on your left (2; hate me as much as you want, you will thank me later). Once at the top of it, continue to go up and walk another staircase (not kidding, do it). This one is a short one, I promise.
You’re done? Congratulations, the most difficult part is behind you (3). You are (almost) done climbing. Turn right and follow the park road along the former citadel walls. Enjoy a beautiful view on the city from there (4). Pass by the hospital back exit, and then cross the Citadel park (5).
At the edge of it (6), turn right and follow rue Sainte-Walburge (not the most interesting part, sorry). Take the next one on the left (7; rue de Campine), then right (8; Avenue Victor Hugo). Pass by the roundabout and continue until the next one. Turn left on Boulevard des hauteurs (9).
Run until you pass by a school (10, Ecole Xhovémont) and then turn left to the forest (11). Follow the path in the wood around a football pitch until a stone path. Follow it down until a second football pitch. Exit the football area (12) and run down the road for twenty meters. Take the stairs on your right (13). Cross the bridge (14) and continue to Rue Sainte-Marguerite (15). Run ahead until the Degré des Tisserands (16; another staircase) and climb to the top to reach the basilique Saint-Martin (17).
Run down Saint-laurent street and take the stairs on your right, just before Pizza-a-Papa restaurant (18). At the end of the stairs, take left and you will reach Saint-Lambert Square and the Market Square (19). The tour is approximately 7km long and, all in all, it should take you between forty minutes and an hour, with various nice spots to discover – Clem
Ou Best Spots for having fun on a Saturday Night:
- Restaurants :
– La Cucinella Ristorante (26 rue de la Casquette): There is a good reason why football players often come to this place to celebrate and have some good time. It looks as good as it tastes: superb. La Cucinella is probably the finest Italian restaurant in town, and it is no small feat since the city count many very good options.
– La Frite (5 rue de la Cité): It is impossible to come to Liège without trying fries from La Frite. With different kinds of seasoning and home made sauces, the place is definitely a must. They serve burgers (including veggie ones) in homemade buns as well. The place is tiny and beautiful (although it does smell of fries) and very cheap – Jules
– La Bien Thai (57-59 rue Surlet): In this authentic thaï restaurant, pictures of the Thaï Royal Family are a reminder that when the former king of Thaïland, Bhumibol Adulyadej came to Belgium, the ambassador asked the La Bien Thai chef to prepare the banquet. Or at least, it is what the owner like to claim to curious customers. In any case, the food is delicious, and that is what matters in the end.
- Bars :
– Café Brasil (74, rue Roture): A little further than the other ones included in the list, the Café Brasil is a cosy place with a huge list of cocktails and rhums from Brazil and beyond. Close to the La Bien Thaï restaurant, it is the perfect place to continue the evening if you go there.
– Volga bar d’atmosphere (3 Quai de la Goffe): In this Brooklyn-style cocktail bar, bartending takes on its full meaning. From the classics to the in-house creations, it is always a pleasure to have a drink in the city’s best cocktail bar. The crew is also particularly friendly.
– C si bon! (238, Boulevard d’Avroy): Although the Sunday brunch is not always scheduled (check before going!), the owner knows how to put on a great spread: quiches, salads, fruits and viennoiseries… everything you need and much more!
– Québec Café (34, Cour Saint-Gilles): the Québec Café is located outside of the city center, but it is definitely worth going out of your way to taste it. Here, Quebec steals the spotlight, which means pancakes and maple syrup reign as kings. A nice address to take a brake from the city center.
There are many ways to access the market. Just check for quai Roosevelt, quai Saint-Léonard, quai de la Goffe ou rue de la Cité. The best spots are located between rue de la Halle and rue Barbe d’or.
Each first Sunday of the month, entrance is free in every museum of the city – so there is no reason at all not to pay them a visit! Between the city’s various museums that will please culture aficionados and the Aquarium Muséum (22, quai Edouard Van Beneden), the most difficult part is to make a choice. You like it? Let’s keep on discovering new cultural places!
The cultural nerve centre of the city? Xavier Neujan square, where you can find side by side:
– The Sauvenière Cinema (12, place Xavier Neujean): It’s impossible to miss the beautiful building that hosts the Sauvenière Cinema. Although the cinema’s programme is largely independent, you can find quality blockbuster and family movies there. However, no food is allowed inside. A perfect mix for any film-lover who cannot stand his neighbor’s chewing noises. Two little bonuses: movies come in their original version with FR and NL subtitles, and the cinema’s pub is a very nice place too! – Jules
– The Cité Miroir (22, Xavier Neujean square): In this former swimming pool, spectacles, conferences, exhibitions and performances are often organized. The place in itself is worth the visit and symbolises the renewed success of the city.
– The Reflektor (24, Xavier Neujean square): This concert venue is located in the heart of Liège and every concert has been soldout ever since its 2015 opening. Eclectic programme all year long.
– The Theatre de Liège (16, Vingt Août square): An excellent programmation in a modern and architecturally pleasing building!
– The Churchill Cinema (20, rue du Mouton Blanc): Since the Churchill belongs to the same group as the Sauvenière, you will find the same recipe for happiness in both places: mainly indie movies, no food inside, movies in their original version with subtitles. But the Churchill is older, definitely smaller and much cosier. The programme also tends to be more indie. I Love this movie theater, each time I go there, I feel like in a living room, but with anonymous people – Jules
– The Royal Opera of Wallonia (Opera square): One of the city’s emblematic buildings, it is also one of the most important operas of the country and many people come from abroad to watch spectacles there.
NB: The present article is just a partial selection of the team’s favourites, but the list is far from being exhaustive. As for anywhere else, we strongly encourage you to experience the city by yourself, try awkward places and dirty restaurants since there is nothing like the feeling of discovering something by yourself and call it your little secret place. Remember that Liège is a raw gemstone. You sometimes need to sweep some dirt along to get the best of it.